I like to start this recipe with a good turkey of about 15 pounds dressed weight. Usually, my wife or I make a cornbread dressing for the stuffing, then top this at the table with a gravy made with the giblets. I also cut off the wings for use in the dressing, as these usually cook too long and complicate the carving.
One 15-pound turkey
Oil or bacon drippings
Stuffing (your favorite)
Cut the wings off the turkey and save them, along with the neck and giblets, for the stuffing. Build a fire in one side of your grill, grease the far end of the grid, close the hood, and bring the temperature up to 325 degrees. Coat the turkey with oil, salt it inside and out, then stuff it loosely. Truss it if you like. Tie the legs close to tail end of the body with cotton twine. Put the bird into the grill on the end opposite from the fire. Close the hood. While the bird starts cooking, make the following Basting Sauce:
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
or 2 tablespoons dry flakes
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon rosemary
Mix all the sauce ingredients in a pan. Bring to heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Baste the turkey with the sauce every 30 minutes or so during cooking. After cooking for 2 or 3 hours, cut the cotton cord so that the legs are loose. Cook for a total of about 20 minutes per pound. Five hours or so for a 15-pound turkey. When the bird is done, the leg joint moves easily in the socket. For best results, use a meat thermometer or "button." Allow plenty of time to cook the bird. If the temperature in your grill drops, you'll have to add to the cooking time drastically.
This technique can also be used to smoke a turkey. Omit the sauce and baste the bird with bacon drippings from time to time. Add hickory chunks or green wood to the fire.
On The Grill
A complete guide to hot-smoking
and barbecuing meat, fish, and game.
By A.D. Livingston
The Lyons Press
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created September 1999
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